BMW Dumping Iconic "i" Model Names: Report

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 3, 2024
2024 BMW X3 M40i

It doesn’t seem that long ago when BMW changed its naming structure to make room for new models and now, BMW is once again changing its model names. According to BMW Blog, BMW is dropping the “i” from its gas-powered models, as the letter “i” will only be used on electric vehicles.

Bernd Körber, Senior Vice President BMW Brand and Product Management, confirmed the news to BMW Blog, stating that the automaker looks to keep the “i” around as a way to “indicate you’re driving an electric car.” Körber provided the explanation when asked why the upcoming BMW X3 M40i’s replacement, the X3 M50, would not have an “i” at the end of the model name.

Originally, BMW introduced the “i” in its model names as a way to refer to fuel injection as opposed to carburetors. Now, it looks like the “i” will be used to help BMW enter a new era, but instead of fuel injection, it’s battery power.

2024 BMW 2-Series

While the X3 lineup will be the first to drop the “i” in its model name, BMW Blog believes that the 1-Series hatchback and 2-Series Gran Coupe are next in line to get updated model names. These compact vehicles are expected to be refreshed before the end of 2024, which marks a good time for BMW to update their names. The 7-Series is expected to lose its “i” shortly after in 2026 when it receives a mid-cycle refresh.

With BMW set to drop the “i” from its model names going forward, BMW Blog became curious about future model names and asked Körber about higher model numbers in the future. At the moment, the BMW i7 M70 is the highest number that BMW uses. BMW Blog questioned Körber if the automaker would ever use M80, M90, or M100 to designate its most powerful options.

Körber claimed that “three digits is our threshold” and went on to claim that “nothing in the plan that gets us close to that.” So, you won’t be seeing “i” on future gas-powered or three-digit BMWs.

Pictured: 2024 BMW X3 M40i (Top), 2024 BMW 2-Series (Middle)

Source: BMW Blog

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, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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